16 Replies Latest reply on Jun 19, 2011 6:42 PM by Jim_Simon

    Is my original footage better than exported?

    77mrd Level 1

      Hi Guys,

       

      I have footage straight off the memory card of my camera. It is in .MOV format. Is this footage in the best quality? Meaning it doesn't have any "quality loss" to it? It is basically the best footage I could have, right? I say this because it is the unedited/original footage which is raw.

       

      So when I export my sequence(s), how do I just export in the same format? I tried lossless AVI but its even larger than my original footage, believe it or not! LOL!  The best option i've found is wmv format(windows media format). It seems to be the best exported with lowest file size ratio.

       

      -mRD

        • 1. Re: Is my original footage better than exported?
          the_wine_snob Level 9

          The footage from the card is "as good as it gets."

           

          Now, there is always a trick, when Exporting a Timeline. One can utilize compression, and usually lower Bit-Rates, or can Export lossless, and higher Bit-Rates, but at the expense of file size. For ultimate quality in an Export, I would quickly go with lossless, at the expense of HDD real estate. That the files are larger is to be expected, as they are not nearly as compressed, as your original material (just guessing, I'd say it probably H.264 in a MOV wrapper), and the originals are also using GOP, not the I-frame of the lossless CODEC.

           

          Good luck,

           

          Hunt

          • 2. Re: Is my original footage better than exported?
            Stanley Arthur Level 3

            Quick anser: Yes. Your original footage is as good as it's gonna get... obviously.

             

            What really matters it what you're exporting for. Are you making a Blu-Ray? A DVD? Uploading to YouTube? Tell me what it is you're trying to make and I'll tell you what to do. Like me, you may need to output to more than one format, depending on your audience. That's why they call then deliverables (with and "s").

            • 3. Re: Is my original footage better than exported?
              Jim_Simon Level 8

              Like the others have said, the original footage is as good as it well get, but to be clear and answer your specific question as asked, it is not likely anywhere near "the best quality" or "without any quality loss to it".  The camera itself is likely applying very heavy compression.  Once done, that quality is pretty much gone for good.

               

              You can keep the quality from degrading further with a lossless export, as you surmised.  Without that heavy compression, it really is no wonder the file size is much larger.

               

              To get the "best quality" from the start, you need to shoot "lossless" to begin with.

              • 4. Re: Is my original footage better than exported?
                the_wine_snob Level 9

                Jim,

                 

                Could not have said it better myself.

                 

                Hunt

                • 5. Re: Is my original footage better than exported?
                  77mrd Level 1

                  Okay I see. SO original is better. I still don't get WHY would the export to lossless be way larger, if the original is indeed the best... shouldn't the size stay the same as the original, or maybe just a bit larger depending on effects used? How can it get larger if it is already at its best quality?

                   

                  Sorry for the newbishness!

                  MrD

                  • 6. Re: Is my original footage better than exported?
                    77mrd Level 1

                    Stan,

                     

                    I would ultimately upload for vimeo, youtube, and then also bluray.

                     

                    Thanks for the advice. I never knew it was different each time.... Such a newb I am.

                     

                    mrD

                    • 7. Re: Is my original footage better than exported?
                      Stanley Arthur Level 3

                      I made a little video tutorial to help you better understand what's going on and how to export your movies for YouTube, Vimeo, Blu-Ray, etc.

                       

                      http://screenr.com/qt7s

                      • 8. Re: Is my original footage better than exported?
                        Jim_Simon Level 8
                        shouldn't the size stay the same as the original

                         

                        No.  In order to actually see the video, it has to be decompressed, which means the information that was thrown out during compression must be restored.  With lossy compression schemes like MPEG2 or H.264, the missing information is guessed at.  Sometimes the guess is wrong and you end up with what's called an 'artifact', which are errors in the decompressed image.  This decompression happens on the fly as you play a clip, whether inside of PP or from a media player or from a web site or from a DVD or Blu-ray player.  You can't actually see a compressed image.  At some point, the image must be decompressed to be viewable.  That decompression adds a LOT of information, bloating the file size enormously.

                         

                        When you export, maintaining the quality of that decompressed image means you can't add any further compression.  So the file size stays large.  If you want the file size to get small again, you have to add a second level of compression to the image (the first happened in camera during recording).  That second level adds even more degradation to the image.  Sometimes that's unavoidable, such as when going out to DVD or Blu-ray or the web, as those mediums are not capable of storing an uncompressed image.  But computers are capable of storing such, which is why people often use lossless exports as Masters in the process.  They can then use that Master to create other forms, such as DVD or web video.

                        • 9. Re: Is my original footage better than exported?
                          the_wine_snob Level 9

                          As an example of what Jim is explaining, open a JPEG Image in Photoshop. Look at the size of the JPEG, and then at the file size of that Image open PS. The latter is the uncompressed JPEG Image. This is for just one Frame, and you are most likely dealing with ~ 30 of those per each second of Duration.

                           

                          Example of a 111kb JPEG Image, Opened in PS:

                          File_Sizes.png

                           

                          Then, there is also the GOP (Group of Pictures) structure of most compressed formats/CODEC's, and to do frame-accurate editing, one needs all of the Frames rendered, and not just once per 12 - 18 (+/- here).

                           

                          Hunt

                          • 10. Re: Is my original footage better than exported?
                            77mrd Level 1

                            WOW!

                             

                            Stan, I'm sitting here just wishing I could repay you some how. You went all out dude! That's a total help!

                             

                            And to the others who helped, thanks, too. This was good.

                             

                            I have one last quick questions... sorry for the bugger

                             

                            WHen I export h.264 it has a field called "Level". Would that matter if I bump it to 5.1? I tried it and it put FPS to around 60fps, but i was able to drop the fps down to 23.976 again and leave the level  at 5.1. I'm not expecting a big explanation because you guys have already done more than enough...

                             

                            Truly appreciative!

                             

                            Oh, and yes, Stan, it is Mister D for Mister Dave. CHEERS!

                            • 11. Re: Is my original footage better than exported?
                              John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP
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                              77mrd wrote:

                              Okay I see. SO original is better. I still don't get WHY would the export to lossless be way larger, if the original is indeed the best... shouldn't the size stay the same as the original, or maybe just a bit larger depending on effects used? How can it get larger if it is already at its best quality?

                              Sorry for the newbishness! MrD


                              Step one is to download the user guide PDF for each product you have, for easy reading and searching

                              CS5 User Guides - online and PDF (see link in upper right corner at individual pages)
                              http://blogs.adobe.com/premiereprotraining/2010/08/help-documents-for-creative-suite-5-pdf -and-html.html

                               

                              Step two is to do some reading to understand what kind of file you are using, and the meaning of CODEC

                              Read Bill Hunt on a file type as WRAPPER http://forums.adobe.com/thread/440037?tstart=0
                              What is a CODEC... a Primer http://forums.adobe.com/thread/546811?tstart=0
                              What CODEC is INSIDE that file? http://forums.adobe.com/thread/440037?tstart=0
                              .
                              Report back with the codec details of your file, use the programs below
                              .
                              For PC http://www.headbands.com/gspot/ or http://mediainfo.sourceforge.net/en
                              For Mac http://mediainfo.massanti.com/
                              .
                              Once you know exactly what it is you are editing, report back with that information... and your project setting, and if there is a red line above the video in the timeline, which indicates a mismatch between video and project

                              • 12. Re: Is my original footage better than exported?
                                Jim_Simon Level 8
                                Would that matter if I bump it to 5.1? 

                                 

                                Changing the Level won't necessarily affect the quality.  I'd not mess with that if you don't fully understand what you're doing.

                                • 13. Re: Is my original footage better than exported?
                                  Stanley Arthur Level 3

                                  I am happy to help. I'm a filmmaker, not a computer tech. Like driving a car, it's important to have a cursory knowledge of how your engine works and know what the parts are called, but ultimately, I want to drive, not go to mechanics school for hours on end. Why things work is not nearly as important to me as knowing how to make them work and, most importantly, keep working. I feel strongly that there is almost always a simple way to address the issue with people who are more artist than technician. It's true that you need to be a good balance of both. Editing and VFX are art. The editing app needs to be as close to an extention of my head and heart as it can be. For me, it becomes really cumbersome to have to constantly stop and learn (i.e.: read, read, read) about an issue I'm having. I want to go right to YouTube and see if I can find a quick little video that explains the problem I'm having a tells me how to fix it or workaround it and keep working. That's what I'm trying to do for you and others like you (and me).

                                   

                                  I can make the little "screenr" videos faster than I can type traditional posts. As you may have noticed, I can talk really fast . Additionally, I think that since we all work in video, it's really cool to teach with video. I know that it's the best/fastest way for me to learn.

                                  • 14. Re: Is my original footage better than exported?
                                    Jim_Simon Level 8

                                    Just one quick caveat about Stan's video.  For the novice or less than technically savvy user, Stan's advice is spot on.

                                     

                                    But for the experienced professional or videophile that wants to squeeze every last bit of quality out of his productions, I'd add that it really does make sense to export out a lossless file.  This can then be used in an external encoder, such as HC Encoder or Handbrake, both of which will output visually superior DVDs and Blu-rays (respectively) than the MainConcept encoder Adobe uses.

                                     

                                    But again, that process requires some extra know-how as well as a fussier than normal sensibility about image quality.  For most people, Stan's advice is good as gold.

                                    • 15. Re: Is my original footage better than exported?
                                      Stanley Arthur Level 3

                                      For me, it's important to remember that the novice or less than technically savvy user might very well be the most brilliantly artistic among us.

                                      • 16. Re: Is my original footage better than exported?
                                        Jim_Simon Level 8

                                        I recall attending a meeting of local film professionals.  It's a meet and greet, networking kind of club.  You also get to show off your work sometimes.

                                         

                                        A 13 year old boy blew away every adult in the audience with his short film.